LiveSub - PubSub-like functionality for LiveComponents without dealing with the LiveView

Hello people,

Big fan of elixir & phoenix LiveView.

While designing LiveView applications I use LiveComponent extensively.

Issue-Inspiration

I like LiveComponent to manage their state, but even with stateful components it is hard to abstract them away from the LiveView.

Usually there is a dependency to the LiveView (along with boilerplate code) when you want to talk to a different LiveComponent in the page, initialize the state of the component or make an async call.

That makes it harder to reuse the LiveComponent, test it, and the complexity of the LiveView increases by adding more LiveComponents.

Proposed solution

LiveSub https://gist.github.com/weakwire/d28dc8e5f9aa1edef78017ee308e7022 introduces a way for LiveComponents to talk to each other via a pub/sub like mechanism for the LiveView

Here is a LiveView application example, using LiveSub. https://github.com/weakwire/live_sub_example.

How to Use

  1. Use LiveSub in our LiveView and add your components with the init=true attribute
defmodule LiveSubExampleWeb.MyLiveview do
     use LiveSubExampleWeb, :live_view
     use LiveSub.LiveView
            ...
     ~H"""
          ...
         <.live_component module={PeopleComponent} id={PeopleComponent} init={true} />
          ...
       """
...
  1. Define the “topics” that your LiveComponents are subscribed_to and/or the topics your LiveComponent emits
defmodule LiveSubExampleWeb.PeopleComponent do
  @moduledoc false
   use LiveSubExampleWeb, :live_component
   use LiveSub.LiveComponent,
       subscribe_to: [
           "person_added",
            "people_loaded"
          ],
         emits: [
           "people_loaded"
          ]
  1. When you define a topic in “emits”, a helper function is created and you can publish your message like so:
SubHelper.pub_person_added(%{name: "John", surname: "Smith"})
  1. To listen to a message, a local function is called inside the LiveComponent, generated using the topic name from the subscribe_to parameter
defmodule LiveSubExampleWeb.PeopleComponent do
        ....
        #This will be called when `SubHelper.pub_person_added` is called from a component
        def sub_person_added(person, socket) do
          socket |> assign(:person, person)
        end

Result

  • Adding N LiveComponents to a LiveView doesn’t increase the complexity of the LiveView
  • Each LiveComponent is isolated and testable on it’s own.
  • LiveComponents can be reused with minimal effort. For eg. an “Edit Person” component can by used in multiple LiveViews that show a person with 0 changes.
  • The LiveComponent can initiate it’s state, even if it requires an async call
  • Less boilerplate & complexity, inspires people to use more LiveComponents in their LiveViews

Drawbacks

  • Currently you need to initialize the LiveComponent using init=true param. (For LiveSub to work, it requires the component id that unfortunately is not in the mount callback)
  • LiveSub hijacks the def update(%{id: id, init: true}) of the LiveComponent. Unfortunately I don’t have any other ways to make it work. You can choose not to override it and you can manually initiate LiveSub.
1 Like

Is omits the right name for the functions/events that are emitted?

The thinking is that this LiveComponent is subscribed_to some topics & omits some topics.
I’m not 100% sure either on the naming.
This just a fast implementation on a proposed design pattern.

What would you suggest as a better name for it?

This may just be a small issue of language. The word I believe you’re looking for is emit, which means to produce. Omit means to exclude, so you likely want emits (inclusion) instead of omits (exclusion).

Thank you. Updated.